India-Australia Test Series Will See 'Swami Army' In Full Voice

Updated: 05 December 2018 13:00 IST

Indian supporters have made cricket their own with great support for their team.

India-Australia Test Series Will See
The Sydney-based 30-year-old created the "Swami Army" supporter group in 2003. © AFP

The four-match Test series between India and Australia is expected to see Indian fans in huge numbers in comparison to the home team supporters. Following a three-match T20 International series, which concluded in a 1-1 draw in Sydney last week, Australia will host the No.1-ranked Indian Test team for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, starting in Adelaide on Thursday. The Sydney Cricket Ground, which also hosted India for a four-day warm-up match against Cricket Australia XI, had witnessed Indian supporters in huge numbers during the final T20I. Many of them promised to cheer the men-in-blue in the upcoming Test series as well.

"There's probably more Indian supporters than Australian supporters here at the grounds so yeah, it does feel like a home game wherever we go now," fan Kartik Ayyalasomayajula told AFP.

"And I'm sure the players feel the same way, so it's really exciting."

The Sydney-based 30-year-old and his friends created the "Swami Army" supporter group in 2003 when he was just a teenager, and he has watched it grow to a global fan club with 60,000 members.

"We love to travel around the country, the world to follow the team," he said.

The carnival atmosphere inside and outside the grounds is infectious. Once a drum starts up or someone yells a chant, everyone joins in, singing and dancing on cue.

The love they have for their superstar players is palpable. When captain Virat Kohli emerges or responds to supporters, they go into meltdown, and some passionate fans even burst into tears.

It is appreciated by the team, with opener Shikhar Dhawan calling the support "tremendous" and teammate Krunal Pandya saying it "definitely" feels like playing in India.

"When you have home support, the way they were cheering, it is an added advantage," he said.

"In India there are so many different languages, religions and cultures that it's the one thing that melds everyone together," Melbourne-based fan Angadh Oberoi told AFP.

"If it wasn't for cricket, it'd be a very divided society, and it's something that, when the cricket's on... you don't have to speak the same language, have the same religion. We all get together to support the one team."

An infamous scandal in 2008, where Andrew Symonds accused Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a monkey, saw relations between the foes hit rock-bottom.

There's been repeated bust-ups, most recently last year in an ugly spat between then-skipper Steve Smith and Kohli.

And the upcoming blockbuster series could signal a new chapter in their relations.

Smith and his deputy David Warner are serving bans over a ball-tampering scandal, and the Australians have since introduced a new code of conduct so they're less aggressive.

Meanwhile India are hoping for their first-ever series win Down Under.

If they do succeed, it will be a big reward for the die-hard fans, whose regular chants of "we will win, we will win, India will win" in Hindi at the games will become a reality.

(With AFP inputs)

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Topics : India Cricket Team Australia Cricket Team Australia vs India 2018/19 Cricket Virat Kohli
Highlights
  • The four-Test series between India and Australia will start on Thursday
  • The SCG hosted India for a 4-day warm-up match against Cricket Australia
  • Swami Army is a global fan club with 60,000 members
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